Introducing Nissan Versa
New Entry Car for Nissan.
Nissan formally introduced a new entry into its 2007MY lineup at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. The Versa was introduced alongside its larger sibling Sentra. Sentra is being pushed upmarket ever so slightly, in price and size. With the Versa and Sentra, and possibly a third entry in a year or two, Nissan will be trying to win back a portion of the market they have not paid much attention to this century AutoPacific and Vehicle Voice correspondents were on hand to watch the show.
Versa’s Role in Nissan Range
The Versa’s mission is to provide North American dealers with a product to slot below the new-for-2007MY Sentra. Versa will be priced lower than the Sentra, but its price range and larger dimensions and engine size compared with Toyota Yaris, the Honda Fit, and Chevrolet Aveo mean that the Versa and the Sentra realistically both compete in the Standard Compact Car segment. Where the Yaris is expected to have a base price around $10,000 the Versa will start at about $12,000 and the Sentra about $15,000.
Nissan adopted a home-market product for the North American market to get the Versa, disappointing sin industry watchers who expected more differentiation between markets. Known as the Tiida (hatchback) and Latio (sedan) in Japan and other world markets, both bodystyles enter the U.S. market bearing the name Versa (short for versatile space). The five-door hatchback arrives first, in summer 2006, followed by a sedan in late 2006.
Nissan promises a spacious cabin with a small footprint for its entry product, as well as soft touch materials and larger front seats (nearly Maxima size). The goal is to create an entry car that does not feel cheap, a challenge for a company oft-criticized for cheap-feel interiors even at much higher price points than this one.
Versa arrives with only one engine option, an all-new 1.8L DOHC 16v I4 estimated to deliver 120HP and 38 mpg when mated to the optional continuously variable transmission. Standard transmission will be a six-speed manual, with a four-speed automatic also offered.